Duquesne University

Spiral of Life Mural Series

« Go Back

The Spiral of Life Mural Series explores a new symbol for evolution that emphasizes the common origin of all living things. The mural series includes:

Spiral of Life images
"Spiral of Life I: From Darwin to Today."

Spiral of Life I: From Darwin to Today

Installed at the Carnegie Science Center
App. 4ft x 4 ft
February 2009
Thanks to Azur Cherin, Mike Hennessy and whole team at the Carnegie Science Center.
Located on the 4th floor, next to "Ask Darwin"

Spiral of Life images
"Spiral of Life III: Animal Evolution"
at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Spiral of Life II: Co-Evolution of Plants and Animals

Installed at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh PA
30 x 40 in
April -August 2009
Thanks to Laura Micco, Sarah Presogna, Margie Radebaugh and Kelliann Walsh
Located in the Gallery

Darwin2009: Spiral of Life
"Spiral of Life III: Animal Evolution"
at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Spiral of Life III: Animal Evolution

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquariums
18 ft x 10 ft
July 2009
Education advisor Dave Mintz
Thanks to
Connie George, Tracy Gray, Jennifer Hicks, Mark Reardon, Margie Marks and Kevin O'Connell
Located in the Kid's Kingdom, Worlds of Discovery building

Spiral of Life IV: DNA and Evolution

App. 22x 24 in
Developed for DNA Day 2009
Exhibited at all Darwin2009 partner institutions

Darwin2009: Spiral of Life
"Spiral of Life V: Dinosaur Evolution"is installed at the National Aviary.

Spiral of Life V: Bird Evolution

To be installed at the National Aviary, Pittsburgh PA
App. 7 ft x 6 ft
July 2009
Thanks to Erin Estell, Todd Kazner, Steve Sarro, Caitlin Stone
Thanks to the advice of Matt Lamanna, Brad Livezey

Spiral of Life VI: Evolution at the Children's Museum
"Spiral of Life VI" was the stage for a storytelling performance about evolution.

Spiral of Life VI: The Story of Life (click for pictures and activities)

Children's Museum, Pittsburgh PA
Thanks to Angela Seals, Lois Winslow, Penny Lodge
Photographer: Josh Gates of Boxwood Photography
Performance and public interaction were funded by the F.I.N.E. Artist Residency Series, funded by the Fine Foundation, awarded to Joana Ricou.

Darwin: Evolutionary art: the tree of life re-invented as a spiral
Detail of "Spiral of Life V: Bird Evolution:" see how birds came about in the context of the evolution of all living things.




Executive Producer - John A. Pollock

Art Director and Lead Art - Joana Ricou

Science Research - Brinley Kantorski and Allison Pogue

Additional Art - Robert Hoggard






Keep up to date with Darwin in Pittsburgh

Contact Us


Green-Eye Visualization

Posters for Spiral of Life: Evolution and Darwin art
GEV is a distribution partner of Darwin2009. Visit our store to purchase posters of the Spiral of Life!

Go to Store >

Darwin 2009: Exploration is Never Extinct!Presented by Regenerative Medicine Partnership in Education.

Spiral of Life

What is the Spiral of Life?



1. Ricou, Joana, Danielle Commisso, Laura Lynn Gonzalez, John A. Pollock. Evaluation of a Mural Series on the Evolution of Life. International Journal for Cross-Displinary Subjects in Education, Volume 2, Issue 3, ISSN 2042 6364 (submitted by invitation)

2. Ricou, Joana, John A. Pollock, Danielle Commisso. The Evolution Of Evolution: The Tree, The Spiral And The Web of Life. Extended Abstract. Proceedings of the Canada International Education Conference (2010).

3. Ricou, Joana, John A. Pollock (2010). The Tree, the Spiral and the Web of Life: A Visual Exploration. Leonardo Magazine (accepted for publication 2011/2012).


MacDonald, Teresa E. (2010). Communicating Phylogeny: Evolutionary tree diagrams in museums. University of Kansas Natural History Museum. Paper presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Philadelphia, PA.

Sources for Spiral of Life mural series

Please download the document below for sources consulted to created this project:
Bibliography for Spiral of Life Download sources for the Spiral of Life project (pdf)